Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-And-White Jazz Band in History

by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Author) James E Ransome (Illustrator)

Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-And-White Jazz Band in History
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Teddy Wilson and Benny Goodman broke the color barrier in entertainment when they formed the Benny Goodman Trio with Gene Krupa. Here is the story of how two musical prodigies from very different backgrounds grew up, were brought together by the love of music, and helped to create the jazz style known as swing.

Publishers Weekly

In 1936, the Benny Goodman Trio became the first interracial band to perform in public, with Benny Goodman (the son of Jewish immigrants) on clarinet and African-American Teddy Wilson on piano (Gene Krupa, on drums, completed the trio). Writing in punchy free verse that echoes the bounce of both men's music, Cline-Ransome traces Goodman and Wilson's parallel--but separate--paths to jazz fame, before eventually meeting in 1935. Working in watercolor outlined in loose pencil, Ransome strongly evokes the allure of music that Goodman and Wilson both felt as boys, as well as way jazz all but demanded people get up and move: "The stage was hot/ The dancer floor was hotter/ The music was hottest." Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-6--The true story of jazz musicians Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson is told in deep blues and gold with splashes of red throughout. The lyrical prose infuses the book with the spirit of jazz ("Benny blowing /bleating /breathing /music /into Benny's clarinet.") The illustrations are realistic and reminiscent of Jerry Pinkney's God Bless the Child (HarperCollins, 2003), yet the watercolors seem to blur together at times and swing like the music that Teddy and Benny play. The biographical back matter will give readers more insight into all of the musicians mentioned and shed light on how a love of music helped the two break down color lines.--Krishna Grady, Darien Library, CT

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

The lyrical prose infuses the book with the spirit of jazz . . . the watercolors seem to blur together at times and swing like the music that Teddy and Benny play. The biographical back matter will give readers more insight into all of the musicians mentioned and shed light on how a love of music helped the two break down color lines.—School Library Journal

Writing in punchy free verse that echoes the bounce of both men's music, Cline-Ransome traces Goodman and Wilson's parallel—but separate—paths to jazz fame . . . Working in watercolor outlined in loose pencil, Ransome strongly evokes the allure of music that Goodman and Wilson both felt as boys, as well as the way jazz all but demanded people get up and move—Publishers Weekly

[I]ntroduces an important event in a snappy text that swings. Ransome's line-and-watercolor pictures also flow with movement and color. Kids drawn in by the story of the young artists will go on to ponder the history.—Booklist

A solid exploration of a resonant musical partnership at a historically significant moment in American music.—Kirkus Reviews

This book is a great starting point for students to discover two jazz greats.—Library Media Connection
Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome have collaborated on many award-winning picture books for children. These include Before She was Harriet, a Coretta Scott King honor book; Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the first Black-and-White Jazz Band in History; Satchel Paige, which was an ALA Best Book for Children and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, which received starred reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal. They live in the Hudson River Valley region of New York.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780823423620
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Holiday House
Publication date
February 20, 2014
Series
-
BISAC categories
JNF007060 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Performing Arts
Library of Congress categories
History
United States
20th century
Jazz musicians
Race relations
Goodman, Benny
Wilson, Teddy

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